Back to our house
Another door from the living room opened up to the staircase and the two large bedrooms. Mom and Dad slept in the front bedroom, with the latest baby in a cot. A large bed in the back room was for me and several brothers. The bed was put up against a wall and we slept side by side along the bed, not top to bottom.
We had a little Scottish girl friend living next door and once, when her parents were away, she came to stay with us and shared our bed. Sadie had an attractive Scottish accent, and instead of going to sleep, she kept us enthralled with the tale of 'The Three Little Pigs'. She huffed and puffed and blew their house down with great enthusiasm, to our amusement and calls for an 'encore ' .
As we all grew bigger there was a need to open up the large attic as another bedroom. As the eldest, I was to be the first to sleep in it. There was no gas light up there and I was very conscious of being alone. I became terrified and screamed loudly until I was brought down to be with my brothers. Next day the beds were re-arranged, and Gilbert, Harry and Cyril were promoted to the big bed in the attic and Jim had a single bed alongside them.
Margaret and I shared a bed in the bedroom beneath them. If any of us jumped heavily out of bed, the bump broke the gas mantle in the room below. A new mantle had to be fitted. This was purchased from the corner shop for 4d.
Another memory of gas lighting
In summer months, when the windows would be open, the light attracted moths. They flitted round and round the gas mantle and made fluttery, buzzing noises. We would yell down to Dad to come up and catch the 'bob-owlers'. They had red eyes and it was an awful sensation when they flew too near the light and suddenly dropped down near us. One dropped on my head once, and got tangled in my hair. I was terrified!
What a wonderful day it was when electricity came to St Mark Street and was installed at No.39. Lovely lights in every room, including the attic bedroom, and we just had to click a switch!
The coal fire in the range was still the only source of warmth, except at Christmas, when a fire was also lit in the front room. On Christmas Eve, the remaining coals from the living room fire were carefully transferred to the little fire grate in our parent's bedroom. More coal was put on to keep the room warm for the ritual of Christmas morning.